A Scottsdale Surprise might sound like something you’d find listed in the Urban Dictionary, but it’s really just the last two teams in our Arizona Fall League preview series. Some of the best prospects in baseball will be getting their extra reps in this fall. Each team in the majors is represented across the six Arizona Fall League teams and we’ve already covered a few of the fantasy relevant prospects on Mesa, Glendale, Salt River, and Peoria. You can follow the links at the end of this post to view those. Stats included are the cumulative stats for 2014 across all minor league levels. Strong farm systems like the Pirates and Red Sox are represented on the Scottsdale and Surprise rosters, so let’s take a look at some fantasy prospects from each to put a bow on this thing.
Josh Bell, OF | PIT
Bell checked in at #35 in Baseball America’s midseason top 50 rankings and is one of the best fantasy prospects in a strong Pirates’ system. At only 22 years old, the switch-hitting outfielder is already showing solid power and the ability to hit for average. He didn’t go yard after his promotion to Double-A, but he still showed a good eye at the plate and his power numbers should only improve in time. It looks like he’ll get some reps at first base in the AFL and he’ll likely return to Double-A for the start of 2015.
Brandon Nimmo, OF | NYM
Nimmo also cracked BA’s midseason top 50, taking the #48 spot in the rankings. The 21-year-old made half of his plate appearances at Double-A in 2014, where he hit six homers and posted a .339 OBP. His walk rates have been solid at every level and if he continues to develop more power, he could become a fantasy relevant outfielder even if it’s not in center field. His ETA is still sometime in 2016, so there’s a lot of development left here.
Roman Quinn, OF | PHI
Originally a shortstop, Quinn has made the transition to center field thanks to the emergence of J.P Crawford as the Phils’ shortstop of the future. Speed is Quinn’s best tool, posting solid OBP numbers and stealing 30+ bases in each of his last three minor league seasons. The 2014 numbers are especially impressive given that the 21-year-old ruptured his Achilles tendon this past spring and then had to learn a new position.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP | PIT
We knew Glasnow was good from his 2013 numbers, but in 2014 he was even better. The Pirates are loaded with talent even after promoting Gregory Polanco to the big club. Glasnow is a 6-foot-7, 21-year-old righty with an upper 90s fastball, sharp curve, and good changeup. The 4+ walk rate is the only blemish on his stat line, but that should improve with time. In fact he made improvements just this past season, posting a BB/9 of 2.9 from July forward.
D.J. Peterson, 3B | SEA
Peterson could actually end up being a first baseman since it sounds like his glove isn’t going to cut it at third. But since we’re talking about fantasy, his defensive position isn’t as big an issue. The 22-year-old hit 13 of his 31 dingers after his promotion to Double-A and even though he hit a poor .223 there in August, he still managed six homers for the month. It will be interesting to see how the Mariners handle their former first-round pick next year. His bat could force its way onto the major league roster at some point in late 2015.
Hunter Renfroe, OF | SD
Renfroe has raw power and looks like a major league right fielder in the making. At 22 years old, he is probably the best hitter in the Padres’ system after Rymer Liriano’s promotion to the bigs. Renfroe was the 13th overall pick in 2013 and he handled a promotion to Double-A in just his second season. While he hit only .232 in 60 Texas League games, he still managed to swat five homers and 12 doubles. He’ll return to the Texas League for the start of 2015 and should be up with the Padres at some point in 2016.
Jesse Winker, OF | CIN
Winker showed some serious hitting chops for most of the season but understandably struggled after his promotion to Double-A as a 20-year-old. After hitting .317 with 13 homers in the California League, he hit just .208 with two home runs for Double-A Pensacola. Take it with a grain of salt, however, since he was one of the ten youngest players in the league and it’s, well, normal. It’s also important to note that he suffered a hand injury that essentially ended his season despite trying to play through it. Winker’s going to hit, and he should also develop more power as he matures.
Rusney Castillo, OF | BOS *MLB stats
The latest big name to come out of Cuba, Castillo made his debut with the Red Sox this September. The jury is still out with only limited looks of the 27-year-old, but at first glance he looks like the type of player that could be really useful in fantasy. It’s likely that he’ll provide more value with his legs than his bat, but he showed glimpses of both in his 40 plate appearances this fall. The Red Sox, like the Pirates, have a strong minor league system. With the addition of Castillo, it looks like they’ll have a stacked outfield heading into 2015 as well.
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